Awaking (The Naturals, Book 1)
by Madeline Freeman
Release Date: August 12, 2011
E-book Edition; 294 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Source: Review Copy from Bewitching Book Tours
3.5 / 5 Stars
Morgan Abbey’s life is about to change.
Just weeks before her senior year is set to begin, a mysterious stranger approaches Morgan with information that has far-reaching ramifications. First, the psychic ability she believes she has just been pretending to have since middle school might actually be real.
Second, her mother, who disappeared abruptly and completely almost a decade ago, might still be alive.
Morgan finds herself in the drawn into a centuries-old struggle involving a group of people who quietly coexist alongside the common people of the world. This shadowy group believes it is time for them to reclaim their former positions of power—and they believe Morgan is the key.
But when the time comes, will Morgan be able to do what it takes to reunite with her mother and fulfill her destiny?
Awaking, the first novel in The Naturals series, definitely has a lot of potential. And while I did find it interesting and fun to read, the pacing was somewhat slow and I found it difficult to stay focused at times as the story had a tendency to meander.
Out of all of the characters in the novel, I thought Corbin was the most interesting. With a quirky personality and a friendliness to him that was engaging, I found myself drawn to his character as a reader and looked forward to the scenes in which he appeared. There was something that was guileless about him and you always knew that he would be there to help save the day and while that may sound boring or uninteresting, I found it endearing. Morgan, the principal character, sometimes rubbed me the wrong way as I found her to be imperious and cold. She really didn't have a lot of time for other people in her life except for a rather select few, and pretty much snubbed everybody else and didn't give them much of a chance. There were times when I wasn't too sure about her, but it's not the first book I've read where I've disliked the main character so I went with it. Luckily, she began to grow on me towards the end. As for the rest of the characters, the verdict is still out on them as there wasn't a lot of character development on their parts and I will wait and see what happens with them. I do find it interesting how quickly one can go from liking a character to disliking a character however, as Kellen is definitely not on my favourites list at this point. I find him a bit creepy and his aloofness and coolness can be somewhat irritating.
One of the things I did like in this novel was the lack of the 'love' relationship. I have grown tired of novels where the characters fall in love immediately and the entire book is about their so-called relationship and how to deal with it. Luckily, this novel was not about that, and although there is some romance, and looks to have some romantic entanglements in the future, there was not a lot of that happening here. Sometimes it's nice to have the relationship play a secondary role in the events surrounding the characters. Not that I object to romance, it's just the "love-at-first-sight" thing that really gets to me. And what I thought would be a romantic entanglement turned out to be the opposite, which threw me completely off guard as I was not expecting it at all. Love it when that happens!!
Although the plot and the novel were well-written with a great writing style, I did feel that the action took a little too long to build and I found myself getting bored with some of the events that were going on in the characters' lives. If the entire novel however, had picked up pace like it did in the last twenty-five percent, it would have been an amazing read as the ending caught me completely by surprise. While there are definitely gaps in the storyline, and questions that need to be answered, I enjoyed the last part of the novel and was satisfied with how it ended.
Awaking has set up a storyline that is interesting and fun, with some quirky characters and what looks to be some rather interesting future developments and entanglements between the characters. While the novel itself showed a lot of promise, a slow-to-start pace and a meandering plotline did not always keep my interest as a reader and I had to focus at times in order to keep reading. That being said however, there is great promise in this series, and definitely some great moments that I did enjoy, and I would like to see where Ms. Freeman takes the reader in the sequel. With her great writing skill, she certainly has the talent to pull off a great second book to this series and I am looking forward to it.